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Judge Rules Against NY Prisons for Violating Solitary Confinement Law

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  • Staff Report 

A judge has ruled that the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) violated the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement (HALT) Act. The class action lawsuit was supported by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).

Judge Kevin Bryant found DOCCS failed to justify segregating inmates, noting their inadequate documentation and blanket policy on serious violations. The HALT Act limits solitary confinement to 15 consecutive days or 20 days in 60 days, with exceptions requiring specific evidence of threats.

DOCCS stated they are reviewing the decision and updating policies to comply with HALT, including using a new Confinement Justification Record Form. The NYCLU praised the ruling, emphasizing the harm caused by extended segregation. Meanwhile, the correctional officers’ union continues to oppose HALT, citing increased assaults.